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Strangling AngelDiphtheria and Childhood Immunization in Ireland$
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Michael Dwyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940469

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781786940469.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Developing Burroughs Wellcome Alum-Toxoid

Developing Burroughs Wellcome Alum-Toxoid

(p.77) 4 Developing Burroughs Wellcome Alum-Toxoid
Strangling Angel

Michael Dwyer

Liverpool University Press

Chapter four suggests that although the practical application of anti-diphtheria immunization in Cork achieved good results, its success was qualified somewhat by the limitations of Burroughs Wellcome’s anti-diphtheria serum TAM. To reduce the occurrence of post-treatment diphtheria cases – occurrences which undermined public confidence in active immunization – field epidemiologist Jack Saunders introduced an experimental ‘one-shot’ Burroughs Wellcome anti-diphtheria antigen in Cork. This chapter explores the development of Burroughs Wellcome’s Alum-Toxoid anti-diphtheria antigen and the relationships that developed between the British pharmaceutical company and Irish medical officers: the former eager to field trial experimental anti-diphtheria serums unrestrained by restrictive British legislation and the latter eager to embrace any solution, however radical, to leverage a modicum of control over diphtheria and its often-fatal consequences, even if this meant side-lining the rights of vulnerable children residing in state-run institutions.

Keywords:   Burroughs Wellcome, Alum-Toxoid, Vaccine Trials, Cork, Children’s residential Institutions, Medical Officer of Health, Anti-diphtheria Immunization, Bacteriological Revolution, 1930s Ireland, Inter-war Ireland

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